By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
HOOVER, Ala. – For Ole Miss, it’s time to wait and see what Monday’s NCAA tournament selection show brings.
Alabama freshman Mikey White singled up the middle against a drawn-in Ole Miss infield, and the Crimson Tide scored twice in the 10th inning to eliminate the Rebels 7-5 Thursday morning at the Hoover Met.
Ole Miss (37-22) finishes 1-2 in the SEC tournament – with both losses in 10 innings – and expects to travel next week for an NCAA regional.
“The tournament is very unforgiving, and if you don’t play well you lose,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “We haven’t played poorly, but we haven’t played well enough to beat these teams the last two games.”
After losing an early 3-0 lead, Ole Miss catcher Stuart Turner drove in two runs to tie the game at 5 in the seventh.
Freshman pitcher Jacob Waguespack made his second start and threw three scoreless innings before tiring in the fourth when Alabama scored twice on two walks and two hits.
The Crimson Tide (34-25) tied the game in the fifth against Scott Weathersby, the second of five Ole Miss pitchers.
The Rebels had a chance to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth but with runners at first and second and one out, Will Allen, pinch-hitting, lined hard to third base for a 5-3 double play.
Ole Miss reliever Tanner Bailey got the first out of the 10th before giving up a walk and a double to put runners at second and third.
Brett Huber replaced Bailey and had made White look bad on two swinging strikes before White adjusted.
“The first two I missed were both sliders, and I thought he was going to try to sneak a fastball by me,” White said. “I was able to keep my hands back, which I didn’t do the first times, and he kind of left it (slider) up a little bit. The first two he buried.”
Turnbull hangs in
The Rebels had Alabama starter Spencer Turnbull teetering along the edge but couldn’t muster one final push in the middle innings.
Crimson Tide coach Mitch Gaspard squeezed all he could from Turnbull, leaving his ace in until he issued three-straight two-out walks to load the bases in the seventh. He had thrown four-straight scoreless innings prior with little pressure applied.
Turner singled off reliever Mitch Greer bring home two of those walks.
Ole Miss couldn’t get a second two-out hit against Greer to take the lead and could not score against Tucker Hawley, the Tide’s third pitcher, over the final three innings.
“(Turnbull) did a great job of pounding both sides of the plate. Myself and a couple of other guys had advantage counts, and he was able to beat us,” Turner said. “We have to be able to get to him in that situation and knock him out of the game.”